Smoke and Mirrors: thousands brave conditions to enjoy Summernats 33

Dominic Giannini 6 January 2020

Thousands braved the smoke and the heat to enjoy four days of burnouts and unique muscle cars at Summernats 33. Photo Region Media.

Canberra’s hottest day on record, total fire bans and air quality more than 15 times worse than the hazardous threshold were all defied by petrolheads and car enthusiasts alike at Summernats 33.

Over the last four days [2 January – 5 January], the 33rd Summernats took place at Exhibition Park. Unique muscle cars had a chance to show off their modifications and burnout skills in front of thousands of onlookers who had travelled from all over Australia to be there.

Most seemed relatively unfazed by the conditions.

“Yeah I would still come out. The smoke from the fires have nothing to do with what is happening here. It is really bad today [Sunday, 5 January] but it is what it is,” one man told Region Media.

“It does not bother me at all, I have been doing street machines at Summernats for 30 years and it has not affected me whatsoever.”

A second man took the air quality in jest. “It does not bother me at all. You are going to breathe in the tyre smoke anyway so why not some bushfire smoke as well ? “, he said.

“Who knows, the rubber might even protect your lungs, give you a nice safe lining, so it’s all good.”

Some were more cautious but said it did not affect their decision to attend the event and bring young children.

“I am used to it. Just came out today with the young fella, he has the mask and that kind of thing, so he is protected,” one father said.

A mother of four told Region Media that the conditions were just another day at home.

“We are from Taree so we have had smoke for weeks now. It has been every day at home since November so it is pretty average for us at the moment.”

Others had travelled from interstate to attend the event.

“This is my 33rd time, but we have been monitoring our area. I am from a town in central Victoria called Muckatah which is about 10km south of Cobram, and if it was dangerous we would head home.

“I have the bandana, it helps. I was here during the heat yesterday, mainly because I travelled six hours. So if they called it off on the Sunday or called it quits at midday, you think, I still have half a day.”

It seems the only thing lower than the air quality on Sunday was the number of worries at EPIC as Summernats concluded its 33rd year in the capital.

Here are some of the best photos from the event.

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